This post is written in collaboration with Hello Mamas
When I had my first baby, a friend of mine said to me, ‘Welcome the club.’ It was a weird thing to say; and weirder still that I was chuffed to be in said club, even if it consisted of after birth pains, rock-hard boobs and sleep-deprivation.
She went on to say that after becoming a mother for the first time, she felt like she had joined the ranks of all those that have gone on before. She spoke of a shared journey; a common adventure, marked by the beauty and love of the perfect person you just brought home.
I don’t remember feeling like I ‘joined the club’ — until today that is. And it’s probably a different club than she meant, because if motherhood is a club, then technically I’ve been a member for the last 12 years. Today, though, I feel like I’ve graduated to the ‘next level.’
There are so many different ways to be a parent; there’re so many different ‘clubs’ we all fit into. Some are defined by the things that happen to us: sons versus daughters, infertility versus unplanned pregnancies. In a way, they all put people in different ‘groups,’ even if perhaps they shouldn’t.
Other times, it’s about the parenting stage you’re in. There’s the mother of babies club. Defined by vomit and squishiness and wondering who this person will become.
Then there’s the mother of school-age kids club. It seems to involve lots of time in the car driving to school, and play dates and sports, all helping them be the person they are.
And then, of course, there is the mother of teenagers club. I haven’t done this one yet, but I hear it’s all sullen glances, with occasional moments of greatness, where you either love or loathe the person you have made.
Today, my littlest girl turns five.
The big F-I-V-E.
I’m in denial.
She’s still my baby, but five-year olds aren’t babies. They are big kids. They are ready to learn how to read, and sit still, and have an opinion on what constitutes a pattern, as well as other things.
For twelve years, I’ve been in the mothering club, but I’ve still had one foot firmly planted in the ‘mothers of babies’ club. Today that ends.
Of course, it’s not like anything has changed overnight. She’s been growing up for ages. She can write her name and count to 27 and read the odd word. She has thoughts about all kinds of things, including the belief that rainbow sneakers can be worn with anything. (I’m not inclined to argue that one. )
She has friends and her own fashion sense, and can buckle her own seat belt and brush her own teeth.
On Monday, her beloved Cuski broke, and despite all the tears and grief from that moment, she was able to move on.
She is not a baby, and I am not a member of the ‘mothers with babies’ club.
Today it all becomes official.
She turns five and celebrates with cake. And I graduate to the next level of motherhood and console myself with the same chocolate infused cake-y goodness.
Motherhood takes all different forms; it happens in so many ways that define us for reasons good and bad. We move in and out of seasons and stages, as much as we stay in some that never let us leave. But the thing that we all understand is that regardless of how it happened, or how old they are, the beauty and love is still the same.
As is the wondering of ‘when did you grow up?’
Welcome to the club; I hope you have cake.
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